Story Circle Network

Internet Chapter Workshops

From Memoir to Fiction: Using Fictional Techniques to Create Autobiographical Story

Instructor: Susan Wittig Albert, Ph.D.

Author: Writing From Life, Work of Her Own, the China Bayles Herbal Mysteries, the Robin Paige Victorian Mysteries, numerous articles, textbooks, children's novels

Thanks for your interest!
Here is how our on-line workshop is organized:
  1. Become a member (using our on-line form) of the Story Circle Network, as well as the Internet Chapter.
  2. Enroll in a workshop(s), using our on-line enrollment form
  3. Send your check to
    Story Circle Network
    PO Box 1616
    Bertram TX 78605-1616
  4. When your payment has been received, you will receive email notification that will include instructions on how to access the web pages for the workshop in which you enrolled.

"Memoir must be written because each of us must possess a created version of the past... If we learn not only to tell our stories but to listen to what our stories tell us--to write the first draft and then return for the second draft--we are doing the work of memory."
--Patricia Hampl, I Could Tell You Stories: Sojourns in the Land of Memory

This workshop is designed for women who want to make stories out of the lives they've lived--that is, to create autobiographical fiction. In this six-session workshop, you'll be asked to take two personal stories you have already written (or may write especially for the workshop) and revise and expand them, using the fictional techniques that are outlined and explained on the workshop website. You will practice developing characters and plots, creating a scene, using point of view, crafting dialogue, managing time (flash-backs, flash-forwards), and creating settings. Throughout, there will be a special emphasis on copy-editing techniques. (Yes, this means that spelling and grammar ARE important!) You will submit your work to me via email attachments (Word documents preferred). I will read and critique your submissions in the old-fashioned way, by annotating them in pencil (I promise not to use red pencil) and returning them to you via snail mail or fax. You may work at your own pace, but must finish the workshop by May 15, 2003.

Please note: this workshop is for women who have already written a number of short memoirs, are accustomed to writing for an audience, have the ego-strength to accept constructive criticism, and would like to learn and/or polish the techniques of fiction writing. It is not an introductory course. It is also not an appropriate context for me to help you polish and prepare for publication a long piece of work you have already written. (In other words, I am not a book doctor.) To take this course, you should have time to complete the writing within the stated period.

--Susan Wittig Albert

Workshop Guidelines:

Workshop Units:

  1. Developing character and plot
  2. Creating scenes
  3. Designing dialogue
  4. Working with point of view
  5. Managing time (flash-backs, flash-forwards)
  6. Creating settings

In each unit, there will be a special emphasis on copy-editing techniques. A bibliography of resource texts will be provided.

Workshop Address/Location:

Submit your writing to Susan Wittig Albert

Last updated: 02/18/03